With each passing day bringing us news of some new health concern we’ve got to worry about, a food item we should no longer be eating or a brand new supplement we simply must be adding to our diets, it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed and fatigued by all things health.
It often seems that the more we try to look after ourselves, the harder it gets. It’s enough to make you want to give up the whole shebang entirely and just order another pizza.
But gut health is actually a real concern and one that shouldn’t just be on our minds the day after a night out.
There’s plenty of research that shows the gut is actually the ‘second brain’ - so called because of its connection to our thoughts, feelings and actions.
From following our ‘gut instinct’ to ‘feeling butterflies’ when we’re nervous, our gut can tell us a lot about what’s going on in our heads, so if we don’t look after it, it stands to reason that we’re not looking after our minds properly, either.
A healthy gut equals a healthy mind, so ensuring yours has all the nutrition it needs is of paramount importance.
Probiotics play a massive part in this. Our gut is made up of over 500 species of flora, all of which, when in balance, contribute to a healthy digestive system, metabolism and hormonal health. These flora act as a kind of barrier against any harmful bacteria that may enter and probiotics (also known as good bacteria) help them do this by keeping everything ticking over nicely.
These are the best probiotics to buy now to keep your gut feeling healthy and happy but as with any supplements, speak to a medical professional first if you’re unsure what to take.
Best probiotics for gut health and IBS:
Containing 23 probiotic strains and 50 billion live CFU in every capsule, this supplement is the chief of all supplements - the one to take when you need to pull in the big guns to get your gut health in order.
Formulated by a Dr Edward F Group who was tired of having to take several supplements to get all the probiotic benefits he wanted, Floratrex contains ingredients such as lactobacillus acidophilus to help boost the immune system and reduce lactose intolerance was well as lactobacillus gasseri to help normalise cholesterol and support heart health.
Adults are encouraged to take two capsules a day whilst children are advised to take one a couple of times a week mixed into food or drink (as always, check with your doctor first, though!). Unlike many other capsules, these use organic gum acacia instead of toxic binding and filling agents, meaning the bacteria is truly allowed to thrive without annoying capsule contaminants getting in the way.
Also available on Etsy.
Willy's ACV Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar for years but may have written it off as just another celebrity friend. In actual fact, it boasts a number of health benefits, particularly when taken in an organic, unfiltered form, such as Willys. This recipe contains mother - a culture of friendly bacteria, proteins and enzymes that promotes gut health and helps to kill off any unwanted bacteria. Made using apples from a 300-year-old orchard. Willys is never treated with heat, meaning as many bacteria as possible are preserved.
A known and trusted health booster for thousands of years, apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar and cholesterol, help target stubborn fat and improve heart health. Drink with hot water, add to salads or mix into smoothies or put those partying skills to good use and shot it neat. Don’t be put off by its murky appearance - it’s meant to look like that.
Also available on Amazon.
Physis Advanced Probiotics
Coming in capsule form, these probiotics are an excellent choice for those suffering with minor gut irritations. Containing 50 billion CFU (that’s Colony Forming Units - the fancy name for bacteria) in each dose, it’s quite a strong strain so best avoided if you’re in perfect gut health.
These are contained within delayed release capsules - meaning you can take them before or after meals - and are dairy, peanut and gluten free. There are ten strains of bacteria included as well as an advanced multivitamin. Including 30 capsules, this bottle will last for a month (you’re advised to take one a day) and is best kept in the fridge to ensure the survival of the live bacteria.
Swiss BioEnergetics Full Spectrum Probiotic Defence
Contained inside DRCaps capsules, the bacteria in this probiotic are particularly hardy; able to withstand the acids in the stomach long enough to reach the intestines - where they’re really needed - intact.
Free from artificial ingredients and suitable for vegans, they contain 10 billion CFU so are digestive and immune system boosting. They’ve also been proven to help relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms and to galvanize the gut after a round of antibiotics.
Containing 120 capsules, these should last between 6 to 12 weeks, depending on whether they’re taken once or twice a day (twice a day is recommended for those with gut issues) and come in a handy carton package that can be posted through the letter box and stored with ease.
If you’ve recently had to undergo a round of antibiotics, your gut may be feeling extra-sensitive thanks to the drugs’ lack of discernment in which bacteria they kill. As such, turning to a probiotic to help restore your gut flora is an excellent way to get back on track.
MegaFlora is a particularly good choice for this. Containing 14 bacteria strains and 20 billion CFU per capsule, they offer a gentle but effective defense against bacteria depletion. Made with gluten and dairy-free capsules, they’re also suitable for vegans. Best of all, the capsules are smaller than most, so those who usually have trouble swallowing pills don’t need to worry.
Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula Probiotics
Containing fourteen bacteria strains and 10 billion CFU per gram, these Bio-Kult capsules are particularly effective at promoting gut health. Contained within a capsule, these can be taken by both children and pregnant women (although a doctor should always be consulted beforehand) and are safe to be taken long-term.
These are a particularly good choice for those who hate swallowing large pills as the capsules can be broken apart and the contents sprinkled into food or drink. Suitable for vegetarians, you can take up to two capsules a day and a single packet contains 120.
Bioglan Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora
Those suffering with acne or hormonal imbalances will probably find a supplement such as this Bioglan to be the most effective at helping tame the problem. Each capsule contains 5.8 billion CFU of lactobacillus acidophilus, which aside from helping boost the immune system is also known to help soothe the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance (which often manifests as irritated skin).
There are four bacteria strains in this brand overall and each of the 30 capsules contains 20 billion live cultures. The recommended dosage is one capsule a day and being free from gluten, wheat and soy, they’re a great option for those with coeliac disease.
Inessa Advanced Daily Biotic
Coming in a rather suave looking bottle, these vegan capsules contain a whopping 10 billion CFU of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus - the probiotic strain that’s potentially beneficial at preventing eczema.
This has also been studied the most extensively and has shown evidence to colonise in the intestine - the area where bacteria is the most effective at fighting off imposters. Manufactured in the UK, these capsules have been designed with a delayed release, ensuring they can pass through the stomach without being harmed. You’ll get 60 capsules in a bottle, meaning they should last you for two months.
If you’ve got some serious gut issues going on, it might be worth investing in Floratrex, which has the broadest range of culture strains on the list. If you’re already in great gut health, Inessa is a great choice and is backed up by robust research. If you’re already in decent gut health, Inessa is a great choice and is backed up by robust research..